Joe Biden and his wife have just released three years of tax returns, which is standard practice for anyone running for office. It’s a way to prove that he has nothing to hide. Perhaps he doesn’t, but as people are looking at his extraordinary income since leaving the White House, it raises a number of questions.
Joe and Jill Biden earned close to $16 million since Biden left his role of Vice President three years ago. That’s a substantial amount of money considering that the annual median household income in the US is around $60,000. It’s only fair to question the sources of income.
He paid his taxes, which is what’s shown on the returns. It’s all classified as “ordinary income” which includes his income from holding down the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor title at the University of Pennsylvania, speaking fees, as well as royalties from some of his books. This includes his best-selling book, “Promise Me, Dad” which is about the last year of Beau’s life, his son that died from brain cancer.
In 2016, Biden had an income of just under $400,000. His tax rate was 23.5 percent. He began paying a tax rate of over 33 percent when his million-plus income came rolling in for 2017 and 208.
Nothing Too Questionable
The income isn’t too out of the ordinary for a president or a powerful politician because money is needed to take on the campaign trail. Even with all of the fundraising that is done, it helps when they have some money in the bank. This works out to Biden’s favor. He was always a bit on the rich side, but most of his money was earned once he got outside of the White House, complete with book deals and the ability to charge a hefty fee in speaker fees.
It’s not uncommon for Biden to charge $200,000 in order to give a speech to a group. That’s a considerable fee – and one that, based on his income, plenty of groups were willing to pay.
This Raises Other Questions
Although the income itself doesn’t raise too many questions, it brings up plenty of others. He, clearly, wasn’t interested in sharing what he has to know with groups just because. The speaking gig is one of the highest around, so he could have easily lowered the rate if he had wanted to. After all, he was a VP, not the actual president himself
“Middle-Class Joe” is the name that he’s always referring to himself as. He says that he’s a regular guy, riding the Amtrak and enjoying the simple pleasures in life. It’s hard to see that, however. It comes down to seeing is believing. He’ll have a hard time convincing people that he’s a middle-class, average Joe when he has an income as high as he does.
It’s not like we hear about Joe Biden donating to a lot of causes, either. Where does all of the money go, because it has to go somewhere? He’s not likely taking the Amtrak across his campaign trail, either. He’s spending the money on his wife and they’re enjoying their best life. He even has a vacation home that’s worth an estimated $2.7 million.
His primary home is a $6 million mansion that is waterfront with enough parking for over 20 cars. For someone who says that he enjoys the simple things and that he’s not a sophisticated guy, what he spends his money on says otherwise.
It’s one thing if you want to be “Middle-Class Joe.” However, if you’re going to use that nickname, you have to own up to it. He’s not. He’s clearly not even close to being a Middle-Class Joe in actual bank account figures or in the way that he’s living his life. Maybe it’s a state of mind for him, but that’s not enough for average voters to connect with him.
It’s great that Biden released his tax returns for the country to see. It shows that he’s honest and that he’s been paying his taxes as a good American should be. Perhaps, though, he should have avoided sharing simply because it’s not what will help him win the vote. With the truth out, it’s likely that his numbers will continue to plummet.
He finds himself in the same boat as Sanders – a “regular guy” trying to connect with the American public. The problem is that there a few extra zeros in his bank account that is preventing people from truly connecting with his way of life.